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Old 03-01-2006, 12:18 PM   #14
Jim Simons
Dojo: Aikido in the Fan
Location: Richmond, VA
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 21
Re: Desperate to rehabilitate ki

Jo Adell wrote:
How come we can believe in certain invisible rays of energy and not believe in other ones?
I don't know how gppd an analogy this is, other than saying that I personally believe that ki is as real as electricity or radio waves or those other magic invisible rays that let us see through things and peple, or lift extremely heavy objects, or defy gravity.We can use it without understanding it then, can't we?
The reason we can use electricity without personally understanding it is that someone else _does_ understand it and has wired everything correctly, not because we believe the light will come on when we throw the switch.

But I think the most important question is not whether or not the light comes on when you flip the switch, but under what circumstances? Most folks seem to agree that folks like Ueshiba and Saito and others attained a very special level of ability. What sort of training would produce more people like that? What sort of terminology could we use to talk about those abilities and that training to help make the whole thing more comprehensible and repeatable?

I knew a guy in college who for fun would translate physics problems into mythological terms, and could explain electrical engineering pretty accurately in terms of dragon spirits in the wires. As long as certain correlations are preserved, it more or less works out. But you wouldn't want to wire your house using those terms, for pretty much the same reason you wouldn't want to do your taxes using roman numerals. It might work, but there's a lot of room for error and misunderstanding.

Similarly, with ki and kokyu we're still for the most part talking in those imprecise and 'mythological' terms: wow, that guy was able to push me really hard with a really relaxed arm and very little apparent movement. How? He "channeled ki". What does that mean? Well it's sort of like when water flows through a hose. Okay, perhaps to some extent it's like that, but how is it also _not_ like that? We're apt to get too far out into the similarities and metaphors and too far removed from the topic at hand; we start reasoning based on the metaphors in their own terms rather than in terms of the experience they refer to. The flow of electricity through wires is like water flowing through the hose too, in many ways, but I wouldn't want to deduce from there that I can plug a "leak" in an electrical wire with my finger! I imagine some branch of philosophy has a technical term for this sort of error, but I don't know what it is...

Me, I guess I spend time in camps 2, 3 and 4 depending on mood, physical condition and training influences...
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